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Netflix testing removing the Basic tier (Update: Removed)
- In Canada, the Netflix Basic subscription tier is in limbo.
- Now, the Basic tier is no more in several countries.
- As of now, subscribers can keep the Basic subscription but will lose it if they suspend or cancel their accounts.
Update, July 19, 2023 (09:32 AM ET): Netflix has now officially killed off the Basic tier in the United States and the United Kingdom. If you currently subscribe to the Basic plan, you can keep it, at least for now. However, if you suspend your account or temporarily switch to any other tier, you will not be able to go back to Basic.
Original article, June 26, 2023 (11:09 AM ET): For a long time, Netflix had three subscription tiers: Basic, Standard, and Premium. There are different perks to each, but the gist is that Basic is locked to 720p and one screen, Standard is locked to 1080p and two screens, and Premium offers 4K streaming on up to four screens. In 2022, though, Netflix added a fourth tier: Basic with Ads. This tier is essentially the same as the Basic tier but slightly less expensive because, well, ads.
Now, it appears the company is tinkering with removing the regular Basic tier and turning the ads-based tier into Standard with Ads. In Canada, Netflix’s support page already reflects these changes. As of right now, people who currently subscribe to Netflix Basic in Canada can keep using it as usual. However, if you suspend or cancel your account, you will then need to sign up for a different tier when you come back.
This is no doubt another way Netflix is trying to boost revenue. Even though the new Standard with Ads tier is significantly cheaper than the Standard tier (CAD 5.99 for the former and CAD 16.49 for the latter), those ads bring in extra money. By forcing customers to pick between those two tiers, the company will probably get a quick injection of extra cash thanks to customers either paying more than they pay now by jumping from Basic to Standard or by earning the company more by viewing ads on the Standard with Ads plan.
As of now, there is no indication that Netflix is testing or planning to test this in markets outside of Canada. However, Canadians were some of the first to see the new password-sharing restrictions come into play — and that policy is now in effect globally. It’s very likely that Netflix is using Canada as a testing site, and other countries will lose access to the Basic plan soon.